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Results from barrel work on three Colt 1911s

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Results from barrel work on three Colt 1911s Empty Results from barrel work on three Colt 1911s

Post by Amanda4461 8/18/2023, 8:40 pm

Hello folks,
Thanks to many conversations in this forum, both old and recent, I decided to put file and sandpaper to metal, in an attempt to improve the function and grouping abilities of three of my Colt 1911s. This exercise started after purchasing a new Gold Cup .45, a new Gold Cup Trophy 9mm and finding their accuracy lacking severely. Both produced groups larger than those by an old Springfield Armory Mil-Spec .45 that I have owned since the model originated.
Pictures show groups recorded today, after I spent over 10 hours hand-filing and polishing the Upper Lugs on both Gold Cups.
The Combat Commander has been used as the sacrificial lamb for barrel work, as it has the original 1970s Colt Barrel. The Commander had previous cosmetic and sight work performed, but needed some help in the accuracy department.
All three received new EGW bushings made for their measurements. The bushings helped, but the lug fitment helped considerably more, especially on the 9mm with its non-ramped Colt barrel.
The 9mm has a Leupold DeltaPointPro 6moa Red Dot installed on an EGW mount. 
I shoot much better scores with a Dot, than with Irons, since my vision is now a far-sighted 20:15 courtesy of lens implants for distance. 
Cataracts can be induced by prescription medication. Thanks to a Chinese medical doctor overhearing my cataract conversation in the hallway of my ophthalmologist, my eyesight is better than ever. Unfortunately, losing the ability to finely focus impacts my shooting with Irons.
These groups are with loads shot with OEM recoil and main springs. They feed and function 100% in all three pistols, but are not of the mild, barely eject the empty type of loads. They eject from 6” to 2’ from the pistol.
I welcome all comments concerning current accuracy shown on targets, and hope for suggestions regarding additional improvements. Both Gold Cups have full upper lug contact at the 2nd lug, and partial 1st lug contact. 
I will install a Red Dot on the blued Gold Cup .45, in order to minimize my errors. The Commander is my carry weapon, so will remain as-is. It has sufficient accuracy for self-defense and Steel Challenge as-is.
Thanks for your help!
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Amanda4461
Amanda4461

Posts : 126
Join date : 2011-10-01
Age : 63
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Results from barrel work on three Colt 1911s Empty Re: Results from barrel work on three Colt 1911s

Post by Jon Eulette 8/18/2023, 9:58 pm

A typical factory Colt barrel has almost zero upper barrel lug contact into the slide lugs.

When match barrels are fit, hood first, upper barrel lugs, then bottom barrel lugs. Upper lugs must be fit first so not to lose bottom lug contact on the slide stop pin.

If you removed material from the upper barrel lugs or top of barrel radius, you just reduced the minimal bottom lug contact with the slide stop pin; if there was any in the first place.

So your 10 hours of gunsmithing actually is going backwards and will not improve barrel fit or accuracy.

Factory Colt barrels shoot excellent when welded and properly fit. I have shot 880’s with welded up Colt barrels.

Truth be known.

Jon
Jon Eulette
Jon Eulette

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Results from barrel work on three Colt 1911s Empty Re: Results from barrel work on three Colt 1911s

Post by Amanda4461 8/19/2023, 7:10 am

Jon,
Thanks for the good info. The filing was done to the recesses between the lugs on each barrel. The dykem originally showed zero contact at the lugs, except for minor contact on the stainless Gold Cup’s second lug. You hit on the minimal bottom lug contact, as there was none to begin with. The dykem was barely touched on the bottom lugs to begin with, and remains that way. The hoods were close to begin with. Each barrel had the #3 link from the factory. The Commander was altered with a #4 link after filing the upper lugs. Of the three, it grouped considerably better afterwards.
If I understand correctly, had I the capability to weld the barrels up, thereby supplying more material to the lugs, I would have filed to contact-fit the lugs after weld up, thereby allowing the weld to force the lower lug to make contact?
None of the pistols grouped worse after these efforts, but of the two Gold Cups, the Trophy was able to hold the 9 and 10 rings. Of course, this may have been the Noslers and the powder choice. I couldn’t see a marked improvement with the NM pistol and its irons.
Assuming that I understand correctly, it appears that starting with a Kart EZ-fit would give me the necessary oversized hood area to begin with, not force me to cut bottom lug area and hopefully provide enough lower lug contact to improve accuracy? If so, I am at least comfortable enough at this point to perform the necessary mechanical work to try a Kart E-Z Fit. My goal was to see if I could alter the factory barrels, not diminish reliability and hopefully improve accuracy. Not understanding the relationship between raising the barrels up and away from the slide stop pin due to the Colt barrels being undersized from their original fitment, wasn’t anticipated. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
I assume that a gunsmith fit Kart would require cutting the bottom lugs, in addition to the hood clearance, upper lug fitment and proper link selection? 
I enjoy experimenting and learning the workings of the gun, even if I am doing it the hard way. You and others here are gracious to provide constructive criticism and advice. 
The factory barrels are being used to develop metal-working skills while showing me how each change impacts the guns. Your comments give me a better understanding of the dynamics of the gun.
If I want to spend hours filing away, I could always send these Colt barrels out to be welded up. I am retired, so I have time to do that Results from barrel work on three Colt 1911s 1f604 
Thanks!
Amanda4461
Amanda4461

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Results from barrel work on three Colt 1911s Empty Re: Results from barrel work on three Colt 1911s

Post by Jon Eulette 8/19/2023, 9:24 am

When I first learned to fit Welded Colt barrels, my mentor taught me to fit with upper barrel lugs shoved up into the slide lugs. They were left untouched. Tho Colt barrel radius closely matches slide radius. 
You will get a lower than center firing pin strike. Some gunsmith’s are anal that it must be centered. In my experience it doesn’t matter. Giles and Chow to name a few used shims soldered to upper barrel lug to lower barrel to get centered strike. Bomar made the tuner ribs.
Lowering a stock barrel loses upper lug engagement. More felt recoil is the result because slide comes out of battery much faster.
Unfortunately I’m seeing that most gunsmiths are not fitting upper barrel lugs on custom barrels. The guns shoot great from a rest but recoil horribly from hand. If you could shoot an upper lug fit pistol next to an unfit upper lug pistol you can/would feel the difference. Unfortunately majority of custom BE pistol’s being built right now do not have the upper barrel lugs fit. They’re just dropping them in. You the customer are losing! I think it’s BS they’re not fitting them. 
Kart Ez Fit is much simpler to fit than NM oversized barrel. Fitting NM barrel requires more expensive tools to do the bottom lug work/fitting. If you’re really good with a file you can hand fit. I’ve 100% hand fit barrels before just to do it. It’s a challenge. Ez Fit has less upper lug engagement than NM fit barrel. Not the end of the world.
There’s a lot of pretty guns out there, but most of them have so so fit barrels. A true BE pistol should have a BE quality barrel fit.
Good Luck
Jon
Jon Eulette
Jon Eulette

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Results from barrel work on three Colt 1911s Empty Re: Results from barrel work on three Colt 1911s

Post by Tripscape 8/19/2023, 10:47 am

Jon,
Not having proper gauges, mechanical inclination for barrel fit, etc. I do notice on some BE pistols good custom names that when you pull slide slightly out of battery 1) on some pistols there is a distinct barrel lug disengagemner click and 2) on some there is no noticeable feel of disengagement and slide just goes back smooth. I know that in second case it may not necessarily indicate of true barrel lockup. Can you comment on the feel and which is right? All mentioned guns shoot like lasers regardless of the unlock feel. Thank you!

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Results from barrel work on three Colt 1911s Empty Re: Results from barrel work on three Colt 1911s

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